New York City’s massive solar opportunity

by John Farrell.

The City University of New York (CUNY) released a last week, allowing building owners in the city to determine the amount
of solar power their roof could host. The cumulative impact is
enormous, with , and 14 percent of its annual electricity consumption.

The city should immediately maximize solar power development to save millions in electricity costs.

At $3.50 per watt installed, and with the federal 30 percent investment tax
credit (ITC), solar power in New York City can provide electricity at 16
cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), a full 4 cents lower than the average
residential electricity price (as reported by the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory’s program). 

Commercial installations that can also use the federal depreciation
tax deduction could deliver electricity for nearly 12 cents per kWh, 40 percent
lower than the average residential rate.

These prices are well within reach. Already in the U.S., aggregate purchasing has driven down residential solar PV prices . The in Germany is between $3.40 and $3.70 per watt. In our new report, “,” we show that even small-scale solar is being built for under $4 per watt in the U.S.

As it turns out, when it comes to solar self-reliance, New York City
is a microcosm of the state (in solar potential if not comparative
electricity price). In our 2009 analysis, “,”
we found that New York’s statewide   rooftop solar PV potential was 15 percent
of its electricity consumption, almost identical to CUNY’s estimate of
14 percent of the city’s electricity use.

Whether immediately (NYC) or in the near future (N.Y. state), it’s
clear that rooftop solar PV is the route to greater energy self-reliance
and electricity cost savings.

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